"We are pressing forward with the discriminatory objective claim, so while it is disappointing and a concerning signal from the Department of Justice about their position on voting rights it will not change our position in the case", she said in an interview.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a longtime proponent of voter ID laws, and said in his confirmation hearings that he believes "we regularly have fraudulent activities occur during election cycles", and called the Voting Rights Act was "intrusive".
The Justice Department on Monday informed attorneys for a civil rights group challenging the voter ID law that the government plans to file court papers to withdraw the DOJ's discriminatory objective claim. The Obama Justice Department had argued that Texas Republicans passed the law because they felt "threatened by explosive growth in minority populations" who tend to favor Democrats. Backers of voter ID laws, usually Republicans, argue that they provide necessary checks on voter fraud, but researchers have found scant evidence that widespread voter fraud has taken place.
Texas' law is said to be "the nation's strictest voter photo ID law that leaves more than half a million eligible voters who do not have the requisite types of ID from fully participating in the democratic process".
It said it would no longer argue that the law passed in 2011 was meant to discriminate against minorities.
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The Obama appointee had held that the Texas photo voter ID law violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because it: had an impermissible discriminatory effect, including deliberate discrimination against blacks and Hispanics; violated the Equal Protection Clause; and unconstitutionally offended voting rights guaranteed under the Fifteenth Amendment.
Prior to today, the DOJ had been working with a number of voting rights advocacy groups, such as the Brennan Center for Justice, in bringing the suit against the state of Texas over the legality of the voter ID requirements. The judge could require federal approval of Texas election law changes for up to 10 years.
"The Department of Justice, for a very long time, has been arguing that Texas intentionally discriminated, and has built a very strong case", Weiser said. A hearing on the constitutional question is set for Tuesday. Measures introduced in the state Legislature during the past week would make permanent the temporary tweaks Ramos made to let more voters participate in the presidential election.
Gonzales Ramos will hear arguments Tuesday.
The appeals court previous year sent the case back to judge Gonzales Ramos with instructions to determine whether it was written and passed with the goal of discriminating against minorities.
The case is Veasey v. Abbott, 13-0093, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Corpus Christi, Texas).